“THEY COULD all come up with all sorts of reasons. But at the end of the day, we see a pattern of overpricing. If it’s only one item then probably it’s been overlooked, they can reason out a different supplier or manufacturer but it’s a pattern.”
On point was Sen. Panfilo Lacson in an interview on ANC’s Headstart Tuesday on the Department of Health’s procurement of Covid-19 testing machines and swabbing kits for more than twice the price of similar equipment bought by private companies.
In an earlier hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole, Lacson cited the case of a private company buying nucleic acid extractors needed to process coronavirus tests for P1.75 million each, as compared to similar machines the DOH bought for P4 million each.
“Fortunately for us, the private sector is also procuring the same items, not necessarily the same brand, but what the DOH did is to submit brand-based equipment, meaning they submitted to the procurement service of the [Department of Budget and Management] the brand that [DOH] prefer which is a no-no, it’s not allowed under Section 18 of the Government Procurement Act,” said Lacson, underscoring another infraction of the law the DOH could have committed.
The swabbing system bought by DOH was twice the price procured by the private sector, Lacson asserted.
“You cannot avoid being compared sa procurement price ng private sector. Bakit kapag ang government ang nagpo-procure hindi lang mahal, halos doble pa ‘yung presyo and we are operating on very limited resources?” A rhetorical question there which answereveryone, not the least the DOH, very well knows.
“… I think there should be a day of reckoning on all these because seizing an opportunity out of a crisis is a good thing when you do it for country. But to seize an opportunity for self-aggrandizement out of a crisis as big as the Covid-19 pandemic, I think that’s the height of callousness and greed.”
Indeed, Sir, indeed. The day of reckoning, we eagerly await. – With ABS-CBN News